Works on the course
- 11th greenside bunkers construction near completion
The rebuild of the 11th greenside bunkers is near completion, the only works remaining is to re-seed the areas around the bunkers, turf the base of each bunker and fill them all with 3-4 inches of new sand ready for play.
- Second Lantra chainsaw course completed
Morpeth have been liaising with Ian Fletcher, Ian is a Lantra chainsaw instructor who has connections with BIGGA. Ian has also been coming to Morpeth with his own students to practice felling a small number of trees for their educational assessments which take place elsewhere.
- Tree debris removal
The greens team with the help of the volunteers section are in the process of removing the heavy tree debris also burning all the brash, this will bring another big job to completion allowing the team to concentrate on the course setup in the coming weeks.
- Steps at the 3th medal tee
Stu Speirs and John Scurfield have completed the rebuild of the steps at the 3rd medal tee box, the landscaping around the tee still needs brought to completion when weather allows. This style of steps is the style we look to implicate around the course in the future.
- Divot mix
In years gone by the team have divoted the tees with topdressing [fine sand]. The topdressing was not helping the repair of the course and causing issues with the cutting units as sand blunts them off. In 2018 the team have had sole control of their budgets and have managed to include the purchase of 29 tons of high quality divot mix. This will allow the team with the help of the volunteers section ensure that the areas which need the most attention, such as par 3 tee boxes and landing zones on short par fours are maintained and have a full health grass sward with no signs of wear.
The greens team are looking at ways to introduce wild life, they have started creating different habitats around the course using tree debris. Deputy head Stu Speirs has keen interest in wildlife and has taken some great pictures along the way, we will do a constant wildlife section throughout the season to show our progress.
- Outstanding list of works to be completed before the season
-finish 11th bunkers
-re shape fairways
-collect remaining tree debris
-finish area where turf was removed on the 5th/10th
-landscape area 3rd medal tee
-bunker construction 7th greenside/left
-vertidrain greens x2
-vertidrain tee boxes
-small maintenance jobs on machinery
- Disease Management
Head greenkeeper Gerry Cramer has been working hard with Deputy head Stu and Assistant John to educate them on disease, he has had them looking at the different types of outbreaks and the problems they may cause. The poor weather has left the greens under constant threat from an outbreak. As of the 06/03/2018 we are pretty much free of any disease outbreak, apart from the putting green which being in a area surrounded by buildings it has had higher soil temperatures resulting in disease outbreaks of Fusarium.
- More poor weather
The weather during the last four weeks has poor to say the least, we have had in excess of 120mm of rain fall. The greens team have had to make a decision in order to get the course open. The have decided that a total trolley band was the only way the course could be opened 9/3/18 this will be reviewed daily, with being so close to the start of the season. We know that the greens team are still driving in areas of the course which may cause confusion as we are making more mess than a trolley, but please take in to account that we need to still carry out essential works again being so close to the start of the season. When jobs are planned they are prioritised depending on the route taken around the course, take for example 7/3/18 we did the steps at the 3rd medal tee, the team only crossed six meters of the course as they travelled along bridal paths to reach their point of work. Another point to consider on the trolley/tractor factor out on the course, when a member of the greens team passes across the course and leaves a tyre track a golfer is allowed free relief from the tyre track as a rule of golf. When 150 golfers pass through for example the 5th fairway which is saturated in areas there is no rule for relief from the deep footprints or mud slicks caused by trolleys, this again thinking we are very close to the start of the season and look to present a course with high standards of presentation.
Works off the course
Guy Anderson Morpeth golf club’s mechanic has almost completed his full revamp plan of the workshops. The before substandard workshop was not fit for purpose and had health and safety fails within its setup. Now the workshop is separate with adequate space for repairs, Guy has also re arranged the machine space by creating separate parking bays with painted line markings and has even created a pedestrian walkway enabling safe passage for staff and visitors.
- Volunteer help
The volunteer section has been up to the course on many occasions recently, the two days the team were in the green side bunkers on the 11th stood out. If the volunteers had not helped out they would have taken twice as long to complete. A big thanks from the greens team again to all the guys who came up in their free time to help.
- Health and safety updates
2018 has been a new start on the health and safety front for Morpeth golf club, the staff together with General Manager Steven Johnson have completed a new updated set of H&S documents. This enables us all to work more safely moving forward.
- Volunteers training days
On the 6th March the team held the first of two training days for the volunteer section which comes from within the mebership. We had a great turn out and the team feel this was a success, some of the areas covered were, machiners maintenance, machinery usage, health and safety and correct PPE usage during operations. This enables the guys to carry out their tasks safely. The greens team would like to thank all the volunteers for turning up and completing their training, we hope the volunteers will be an integral part of the team moving forward.
- Expenditure overhaul
Over the winter months the team have been looking at the expenditure on the greens budget. So far, we have found that there is a lot of opportunities to save money on some of the products we use. As we progress through the season we I’m to keep a close eye on our spending, challenging prices along the way and hopefully making some key savings.
- Spraying machine ordered
Gerry made the easiest phone call of 2018 so far to Geoff Lowes at Greenlay, the team made a price comparison proposal to the club which highlighted by owning our own sprayer the club could make a £600.00 annual saving. By the end of March, we look to be self-sufficient on the spraying front moving forward, this has been great news for the team.
- Grinding of cutting units
We currently have an agreement with Whitley Bay golf club where they do a set number of regrinds per year for the club, this ensures we have a better quality of cut which in return will enable us to produce better surfaces out on the course. Last week we got the last of the regrinds back, Guy Anderson has since re-fitted all the cutting units back to the machinery ready for the start of the season.
- Machinery servicing/repairs near completion
Guy Anderson has been servicing all machinery individually and is near completion. Guy still has a small number of jobs to complete before the season, this has been Guys first season in the role of mechanic with learning along the way and the team are happy with his great efforts.
“Good work Guy”
- Tree felling licence application near completion
Steven Johnson has been working with Sarah Radcliffe of the Forestry Commission- Sarah has assisted us in our application for our Forestry Commission felling license which was as a result of guidance given by James Hutchinson.
- Turf Keeper demonstration
Kevin Scarce has been to Morpeth golf club to do a demonstration on the Turf Keeper software package. Turf Keeper is the turf industry’s leading online management system providing a complete oversight and insight into staff management, turf maintenance, machinery and chemical applications and golf course budgeting.
Use of this software will allow the team to have total control of every aspect of the work place. We will be in an excellent position to share info with the club/membership which will help us answer most questions throughout the year in facts and figures.
- BTME staff education and visit
Some of the staff attended the annual BTME show at Harrogate for people who work in the sports turf industry. Our guys participated in workshops and seminars which covered subjects such as, Control of organic matter, Disease control in the future, Golf course renovations and was a great opportunity for the team to network with other greenkeepers. This is an event the team look to add to their calendar every year going forward as they brought so much positivity back with them.
- John Deere staff training
Guy Anderson has been down to John Deere, Greenlay for a couple of days to learn about bearings, bushes and has also educated himself on the John Deere parts advisor website. This allows Guy to quickly fault find, find the correct parts needed and make orders fast and efficiently.
- Chainsaw education for Stuart Speirs
Stu has completed his Lantra chainsaw course and has obtained his licence to fell trees legally. Morpeth now have two fully trained chainsaw operators in Stu and John which is very positive moving forward into the future, as we have a tree management programme which currently looks rather full on the work front. The course was supported by BIGGA and we have approached them to look at doing two more courses next year which will allow Stu and John to fell trees of a larger size in the future.
Thanks The Greens Team.